Microsoft is in talks with the world’s most beloved coding site GitHub for an acquisition, according to people familiar with the matter interviewed by Bloomberg and Business Insider.
Neither outlet confirmed the news, but the two parties are expected to unveil the deal on June 4. Sources think that the tech giant could shell out $5 billion for the coding site.
GitHub community, on the other hand, was not very enthusiastic about the news. Microsoft is a well-known competitor of open source software and buying an open-source service could mean less competition for Microsoft.
Open-source software is free to use and can be improved by any developer. From the 90s to the late 2000s, Microsoft vigorously pushed back against the open-source operating system Linux. Microsoft’s former chief executive Steve Ballmer likened the OS to “a cancer.”
In 2007, Microsoft’s lawyers accused the open-source platform of patent infringement. Under Ballmer’s reign, Microsoft also accused startup TomTom of infringing IP because its computers used Linux. The two parties settled.
Microsoft Has Become More Open-Source-Friendly
After Ballmer’s successor, Satya Nadella, came to the helm of Microsoft, the company took a softer stance when it comes to the open-source world. It partnered with Linux and other companies and launched its own line of open-source products. Some people even speculated that Windows OS could soon become open-source.
Microsoft has kept Windows closed and proprietary as it has been an important source of revenue. Open-source software like Linux are free and offer an alternative to Windows. As a result, the Windows maker lost control over what gets installed on people’s personal computers worldwide.
In recent years, Windows became the company’s second source of revenue after cloud services. Also, Microsoft’s devs are heavy users of GitHub. A 2016 GitHub report shows that Microsoft was the organization with the most contributors to the open-source community.
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